Category Archives: Photography

Fin de Siècle — My Favourite Restaurant in Brussels

Fin de Siècle

Fin de Siècle. There’s often a line out the door.

Very early on, I Found My Restaurant—a rustic, no-frills place that gave me the authentic Belgian cuisine I was looking for.

When I’m traveling, I rarely dine at the same place more than once, because there are are hundreds of thousands of great places to eat in the world, and my goal is to try as many of them as possible. Reach should exceed grasp, and all that.

I went back to Fin de Siècle a second time, and then a third.

Let’s start with some of the things Fin de Siècle doesn’t have:

  • A phone number
  • A website
  • Reservations
  • An English-language menu
  • Any printed menu at all

Oh, and they don’t accept credit cards.

The menu, in French, is posted on the wall.  “Are you looking for something authentic?’ asked my charming server, in English. She directed me to the six items on the second panel, told me that they were a mix of traditional and modern Belgium standards, and described what each of them was. Service at  Fin de Siècle was unrushed, friendly, and always helpful—everyone I dealt with seemed happy to be working there.

Lapin à la Kriek

Lapin à la Kriek

My first meal at Fin de Siècle was Lapin à la Kriek, rabbit in Kriek beer sauce. And just like that, I was hooked. Even by American standards, the serving size was large, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a tastier rabbit dish. The side vegetables, too, were perfectly cooked.

Jambonneau Moutarde à l’Ancienne

A few days later, I was back again.  “Jambonneau Moutarde à l’Ancienne” sounds more impressive than “Ham Hock with Mustard Sauce, the Old Fashioned Way’ doesn’t it? Whether in French or in English, it was another exceptional meal.

Fin de Siècle is very popular, and during peak dining times the wait for a table can take quite a while. It’s worth the wait.

Carbonnades a la Chimay

Another classic. Carbonnades a la Chimay is a beef stew made with Chimay Grande Réserve, a Belgian dark ale. This was my final meal, for now, in my favourite Brussels restaurant. I haven’t been able to decide whether I liked the Lapin à la Kriek or the Carbonnades a la Chimay more, so further research is definitely required. If only Fin de Siècle were here in Washington, I’d be able to visit once a week.

For science.


Cute Videos of the Day, 15 March 2018 — “The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway”

Queen Elsa to the rescue.

“Elsa” is a 37-year-old lawyer named Jason Triplett, who was dressed appropriately for Boston’s “Frozen” winter weather earlier this week.

“Cute Video of the Day” is an occasional feature on this blog. It includes an alarming number of videos that show children falling down.

David Bowie is…in Brooklyn

Big News

I’ve been waiting for this for five years.

“David Bowie is”, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s magnificent exhibition chronicling the life of Ziggy Stardust, has returned to North America. It opened at the Brooklyn Museum last Friday, and will run through 15 July 2018.

I’ve already got my ticket.

I saw “David Bowie is” in 2013, in Toronto, the first stop of what was to be a five-year, five-continent, 10-city tour. It ran at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and it was possibly the most brilliantly staged museum exhibition I’d ever seen.

It was worthy of Bowie.

Here’s what I wrote at the time.

2017 Cookery Project — The Year in Home Cooking

Here are some of the dishes I made at home during 2017. Not every meal was an unqualified success, but I learned something new with each of them.

Click any image to enbiggen and open a slide show.

Washington’s various Winter Restaurant Weeks begin on Friday, 10 January 2018, and run nonstop through 4 February 2018—I’ve already started to make reservations—so I won’t be spending much time in the kitchen during the next month.

I’m looking forward to launching the 2018 Cookery Project by mid-February.

Wild Boar Stew and Shrimp with Bleu Cheese at Károlyi Étterem

Károlyi Étterem

Károlyi Étterem, tucked away in a courtyard of the Károlyi Palace, is one of Budapest’s finest restaurants. My lunch there was superb.

Shrimp Appetiser

How did I miss this? Looking back, I honestly can’t remember eating a dish that mated shrimp with bleu cheese before this meal, but I’ve since found dozens of recipes that combine them. So two of my favourite tastes turn out to be complementary.

I suppose it would be pushing things to add raspberries to the mix.

The side of dill vegetables tasted as fresh as if they’d been picked minutes before I ordered them.

Wild Boar Stew

The stew in the center was made with wild boar, and it’s one of the reasons I was so eager to return to Budapest. It was served with quince and potato croquettes.

Chestnut Mousse

Dessert was an elegant chestnut mousse with chili cherry.

“Kingdom of Colors” — The View from the Floor

Here’s some video I shot during a daytime visit to ARTECHOUSE’s “Kingdom of Colors” installation, which I wrote about yesterday.

Because it was shot in a darkened room, the video quality is poor, and the sharp and saturated colours of the projection are blurred and murky, but this should give you some idea of how it felt to experience the show. Watch it on full screen for best results.

What an intoxicating afternoon I had!

2018 New Year’s Resolution Number 1

Since I’m going to post videos, I’ll spend a couple of days learning about video editing and use of editing features. Simply slapping together random strings of raw footage might be good enough for Michael Bay and Uwe Boll, but my viewers deserve better.